Corrupt police officer jailed over kidnap plot

A corrupt police officer and four other men who plotted to kidnap a bank manager were jailed today.

Pc Mesut Karakas, 25, conspired with Richmond Darko, 25, Ijah Rowe, 24, Jamie Lowe, 25, and Gokhan Kuru, 24, to kidnap a London-based Lloyds TSB manager in an attempt to steal money.

Sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, Judge Aidan Marron QC said: "Your collective activity was planned professionally and systematically.

"No-one listening to the probe material will forget the cold, callous way that you behaved."

The five men planned to stage a roadwork scene near the bank manager's home as a distraction for the kidnap.

Police searches uncovered four sets of false number plates, industrial gaffer tape, dust masks, a balaclava, plasti-cuffs, industrial ear protectors and the van that officers believe would have been used in the plot.

Karakas received 10 years for conspiracy to kidnap, two years for misconduct in a public office and one year for assault, with the sentences to run consecutively.

He did not visibly react to the sentence.

Judge Aidan Marron told him: "You were the principal in this conspiracy, about that no-one can have any doubt."

Rosa Dean, prosecuting, said the mens' motive was money.

She said: "The five defendants over a period of months from the summer of 2009 until the date of their arrest, October 21, were planning a kidnap that was both sophisticated and carefully planned.

"The Crown say that this was foiled only by the intervention of police who had clearly been monitoring the defendants for some time."

She added that part of the "sophistication" of the plan was the lengths the defendants went to to avoid detection.

The court heard that a listening probe device recorded Karakas and Lowe discussing the US television show The Wire.

Ms Dean said: "One of the golden rules that any follower of The Wire will tell you is not to talk in the car. Lowe tells them to do just that."

Stephen Ferguson, defending Karakas, said: "The year Mr Karakas spent in custody has been hellish."

He has faced "hatred", "threats to kill him" and six physical attacks because he is a former policeman, the court heard.

Darko, of Prince Phillip Avenue, Grays, Essex, was found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap on October 6. He was sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison.

Karakas, who was sacked from the police service in February this year, and the three others had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap.

The ex-police officer, who appeared in court wearing a dark suit and tie and a white shirt, also pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.

Karakas, Lowe, Rowe and Darko had all admitted assault.

Lowe was imprisoned for 11 years, Rowe for eight years and Kuru for seven years.

The assault related to an incident in Chapel Market in north London on July 25 last year in which four members of the gang, including Darko and Karakas, as well as Lowe and Rowe, attacked a man with a baseball bat.

The court heard the men were caught on CCTV driving from the scene after they chased the victim down the road and beat him, leaving him with multiple injuries.

Karakas then accessed the incident report, printing it off four times, and sharing it with Lowe.

Lowe pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after an envelope containing £10,000 was posted through the letterbox of the assault victim asking him to drop the case against the four men.

After the assault the gang, joined by Kuru, started to plot the kidnap.

But anti-corruption officers from the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards made secret recordings in which they were heard discussing how the victim would be questioned to steal money.

The men were arrested in October last year before the plan could be carried out.

Karakas, of Wragby Road, Leytonstone, east London, was suspended from duty and later dismissed.

Lowe, of Evering Road, Clapton, east London; Rowe, of Chobham Road, Leyton, east London; and Kuru, 24, of Birnam Road, Finsbury Park, north London, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap between August and October last year.